Good morning, dear hearts!
I am on the lookout for pro-positive stories about foster care & adoption, as I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum. I’ll be adopting from (domestic) foster care here in the United States – which is important to mention, as this conversation is going to discuss the unique differences between the *UK!* and the *US!* foster and adoptive situations children & youth are facing today.
I hadn’t realised the contrast in services was as widely different between the two countries, although I had heard from British friends it is harder to adopt in England than it is for an American. They were even open to the idea of adoption but ran into a lot of obstacles therein and never pursued it further. This revelation came to me in my early twenties (early 2000s) – to where I did start to research adoption law & services as well as the situation with foster care youth who are waiting for adoption in four countries of interest: Canada, the United States, the UK (specifically, England) and Australia.
It was through that particular block of research I uncovered that British Columbia (Western Canada) was focusing on older teens to be adopted whereas Australia wanted to find a more universal compact agreement for all English speaking countries (focusing on the ones I’ve just mentioned) to where adoptive parents could in theory seek to adopt children across these combined channels. By extension, instead of simply having an ‘interstate compact’ agreement within the United States, it was a pitch to have an international compact agreement with those four countries.
One of the hardest aspects of pursuing adoption is knowing how many children are waiting to be matched with families. Between the Heart Galleries (a special collection of foster children & youth awaiting for a family to adopt them; this includes children of all religious & ethnic backgrounds, medical conditions, single children and sibling groups) which are focused on regions within a state or are a state collection of waiting children (as smaller states tend to consolidate their Heart Galleries) to the videos on YouTube where foster youth are talking about having their adoption plan active & waiting for their matched family.
Even local news stations reach out with their Wednesday Child sequences of focus where a youth who is awaiting to be adopted has a chance to visually tell a bit of their story, who they are and what they are hoping to find in an adoptive family. Some of those are also available to see on YouTube and some states also allow their waiting foster care children and/or siblings to create videos to gain more exposure to who is waiting as families are now starting to explore the interstate compact option more often than in the past.
This is an option to adopt a child who does not live within your own state but is located somewhere in the United States (including Alaska or Hawaii and Guam) where you have the option of adopting them across state lines by working with your home state agency and the state where the child resides to bring them home to the state you have residency. The process is a bit longer than seeking a child to adopt in-state however, you are giving a child or a sibling group a gift of hope to there are families out there seeking children who live in a different region than they do.
As you read this conversation, you will become introduced to a few of those differences between the two countries – however, this is also a conversation which focuses on how the world within “Being A Witch” was developed and what readers can expect next within the series as this is only the first installment. I was quite thankful Ms Pascoe was open & welcoming to discuss the key components of not just her story but of the foster/adoptive services between both our countries.
As always, my conversations are best enjoyed with your favourite cuppa, a comfy place to sit and a curiosity about the series at hand! IF your cuppa involves tea, kindly let me know what your current favourite brew is below the conversation!
After a life of hurt and disappointment, Raya, the spiky-haired, Doc Marten-wearing 14-year-old decides it’s time to strike out on her own. She leaves the boring English village and what she’s determined will be her last foster placement for the excitement of London. But it turns out she’s a witch, with the annoying habit of time-traveling – by accident. And a sarcastic witch’s cat Oscar tags along for the ride. Why would she fling herself into the midst of the Essex Witch Trials in 1645 England?
After being arrested by one of history’s most notorious witch hunters, her social worker and witch mentor Bryony goes back to try to save them from the gallows. But returning to present day London remains out of reach when they find themselves in Istanbul in the year 1645. There, life is more amazing than she ever dreamed.
What inspired you to create the back-story of Raya’s character to be a foster youth? And, how did you want this part of her life to be a key component of how she views her life and her identity?
Pascoe responds: During my career as a psychologist, I often worked with foster kids, and their situations always moved me. This is my tribute of love and respect to foster kids everywhere. To be ripped from your original family, even if it was not a good place to be is very hard. And kids always feel like they are to blame – that if only they were somehow more loveable, ‘better’ kids, their parents would have been able to cope and they never would have had to leave. On top of this, your foster placement is never an absolute sure thing. Foster kids know this all too well. If they are too much of a pain or strain on the foster family, they will be moved to another family. Can you imagine having to worry that if your are just that bit too naughty, you’ll be kicked out? Usually kids just have to worry about getting their game time taken away or other punishment, not losing your home.
If your foster parents have kids of their own, it’s rare that they treat you all the same – after all the adults are only human, too. There are a zillion adults and meetings in your life. There’s a social worker for you, another for the foster parents. You may have mandated visits with your biological family who are likely working towards getting you back – another thing in your young life that is up in the air. All this makes it very complicated to relax, and let yourself get attached to the foster carers, even if you wanted to.
The reason being in care is a key component in Raya’s life and identity is because just like for all of us, our family experiences are indeed key to our identities and how we view the world, even if it’s in our rebelling against them. So, it’s no different for a foster kid. Just what they have as their sum total of family experience will be different than those who stayed put in the first family they were either born or adopted into. It’s only natural that being a foster kid for the last nine of her fourteen years would loom large in Raya’s experience. Read More